A Shenandoah Conservatory education can help students discover fulfilling career paths that didn’t seem obvious as their studies began.
But what’s that, you ask?
“Experiential storytellers create immersive experiences (often in collaboration with marketing and branding) such as theme park attractions, museums, virtual reality, video games, and the list goes on!” Kole said. “Writing the script is a clear step of the process, but the narrative design implements additional facets including the character profiles, the universe’s backstory, and how the user and guest might interact with this world from an experiential perspective.”
It felt fairly natural for her to end up in such a career, even if it’s something that she, for most of her life, never knew existed.
“I knew I wanted to go into writing after graduating from SU,” said Kole, who also earned a Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from the Savannah College of Art & Design. “I did the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World, and I fell in love with working in theme parks. Once I learned that a person could write for theme parks, I felt like I’d discovered a trove of opportunities.”
Prior to working as a freelance writer in Orlando, she was a show writer for Universal Studios Japan. While she lived in Osaka, she wrote a script for a “Sailor Moon” 4-D attraction, working directly with the franchise’s creators. “I was also fortunate enough to write the scripts and narrative designs for several Halloween Horror Nights attractions at USJ, which was thrilling as I love Halloween,” she said.
Kole began developing her writing skills at Shenandoah, even though her original focus was on acting. “I’ve always thought of acting as storytelling, but I realized that writing the text was more fun (for me) than performing it,” she said. “I was also active with the student organization Playwrights Performance –– which is still active and accepting submissions from SU students! Playwrights made me realize that I didn’t necessarily want to keep everything that I wrote to myself: it was exciting, cathartic, and terrifying to share something I wrote with other people, and it still is.”
By learning how to audition at Shenandoah, she also learned how to think on her feet and appear confident, which is essential in her line of work. “Pitching a concept to someone is pure performance,” she said. “I encourage younger writers who are still in school to take improv classes, because there will be plenty of days where you’re thrown an idea, and you’ve got to roll with it and creative-problem-solve along the way, often in front of an audience.”
So, what’s next?
She’s parlaying her experience into an exciting new job with Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. “I can’t talk too much about it, but I’ll be supporting the efforts of the writing team by helping bring to life some beloved voices for a virtual companion that will be available exclusively at the Walt Disney World resorts.”